Boomkat Product Review:
Another sterling discovery from the unstoppable musical magpies over at Finders Keepers, this time the glistening early electronic fusions of pioneering Pakistani film and pop composer, Sohail Rana. As the son of renowned Urdu poet Rana Akbar Abadi, Sohail was born into a respected family in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, 1938. Achieving his qualifications in Karachi, and following chance meeting with media mogul and soon-to-be longterm collaborator Waheed Murad, he found a job creating music for the Lollywood film industry. In 1969, funded by EMI Pakistan, Sohail had the rare opportunity to create a full 12" disc (not common in Pakistan at the time) known as 'Khyber Mail', a concept album invoking the images and sounds of the high speed Karachi to Peshawar freight train. Distinguished by his whining and addictive electric keyboard and a motorik rhythm section of sitars and layered percussion it introduced a radical form of patchwork pop and mechanical music which kick-started the "plugged-in" Lollywood pop scene also inhabited by the likes of Tafo Bros and M. Ashraf who appeared on previous FK installments. The breadth of styles, moods and ideas contained in this record is quite staggering, ranging from frisky Western rhythm infusions to frothy electronic melodies and all captured with near-impeccable fidelity by the state-of-art EMI studio, many intended for oriental, bellydance and exotic LP compilations marketed to tourists and easy listening enthusiasts alike. At times it feels like we could be hearing a Raymond Scott or Jean Jacques Perrey composition, and then a sitar lick or surf guitar will transport us somewhere far more exotic! It's not without good reason that both Sublime Frequencies/Sun City Girls' Alan Bishop and Jazzman Gerald are avowed fans of this record. Recommended!